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Thursday, October 13, 2005

In Portugal: Thank You to Our Lady

Bon dia (or hello, depending on when you read this)!

Managed to find an Internet access and so this entry. As I am writing this, it is now 4.30 p.m. Thursday. :)

Made it safe and sound to Portugal and have been here in Fatima for the past three days. Before that, it was quite a feat having to endure about 15 hours of flight and transiting between planes before touching down at Lisbon. While there, we saw the sights of the city that literally built itself up from the ashes after a major earthquake in the early 19th century. It is now a thriving business area and a downtown that rivals the Chanp Elysees of France.

But the main stay was at Fatima and along the way here we dropped by, after Lisbon, at Santarem. It was a quiet town that housed the famous 'bleeding host' . Celebrated Mass there at the church just below the religious artifact which was above the tabernacle. For our group who went behind the sanctuary to get a firsthand and close glimpse at the host that bled, it was a very humbling and also 'awesome' experience.

But it was still nothing compared to the event and celebration which awaited us at Fatima. Today, being the 13th Of October, it was the grand festival to our Lady commemorating the last of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to the shepherd children of Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia. We had earlier, yesterday, visited their homes and the apparition sites and saw the countryside that bordered Fatima. It was hilly and was littered with fig trees and holm oaks. It was the holm oak that our Lady first appeared on when she revealed herself to the children.

Today was the main celebration over at the Sanctuary which included the chappelina (small chapel) and the basilica where the site of the apparition was. I joined in the celebration, which included a rosary, procession, mass and benediction as one of the hundreds of concelebrants together with some bishops and perhaps even a cardinal there. It was an experience that one need to be there to get the full implication of what the entire encounter was.

It was certainly a long celebration but I am not complaining. The whole atmosphere was electrifying and at the same time touching for me. I was here in so many ways giving thanks, as a priest, to our Lady for her intercession some 11 years ago as I was then searching to become a priest. Today, being one, I was overwhelmed by the occasion and the whole celebration, though long, was one that I will not forget for a long time to come. Tomorrow, we head for Spain. There will be more interesting sights and experiences to encounter. It will show us the state of our faith which we possess today and how much we treasure this privilege of belonging to God as his children.

Till the next one, when Internet access is available, have a pleasant day and take care!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Fr Aloy, didn't get a chance to wish you before you left. Have a blessed trip and come home safe! Please pray for our family too. And you take good care! - JULIE

Jigsaw said...

Please spare a prayer for us back home, chugging along with Parish work. Miss you at the meets. Have a nice time, keep us in the know when you have the opportunity and God bless!

Anonymous said...

Hey Fr Aloy,

Seeing the Marian side of you, huh?

Mrs P. said...

can you bring back a spanish man for my daughter?

Anonymous said...

Mrs P, you sibeh daring huh? at last on BLOG.

Early Xmas Present zit? I oso wan..........Wrap him with a BIG RIBBON !!!

Anonymous said...

how is paris??? lol

Anonymous said...

hey father aloy,

do you think a person who goes around declaring his own sainthood is a holy person?

Anonymous said...

Happy Halloween ! Fr Aloy

 

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